Assuming abundance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, allowing us to gravitate toward the abundant resources while leaving underfunded, undernourished opportunities by the wayside.
In my last post, I talked about the inherent anxiety that comes with the responsibility of running a company. Part of this fear comes from the unknown availability of resources. Is there enough work available to keep my company in business? Will competitors cut into my opportunities? Will I be able to hire and keep good people? It all basically just comes down to the question: “Is there enough to go around?”
We can do our best to try to scientifically analyze the market. We can look at the competitive landscape and market conditions. We can assess the talent pool and explore training options. But we’re trying to predict the future. We need to make guesses. We need to build philosophies, theories, and make assumptions in order to create the foundation onto which we build our company.
So as we’re predicting the future, where should we land on this question of “is there enough to go around?” Should we play it safe and careful or should we risk a more optimistic approach?
First, let’s examine the philosophy that there’s not enough to go around. This is a protective mindset. It’s the more pragmatic and conservative approach. By assuming scarcity, we prepare for the worst. We will arm ourselves for competition and strategize our attacks. The path to success is one of battling our competitors, our customers, and maybe even our employees into submission. If we don’t carry a lot of hope, we’re not likely to have our hopes stolen away. We’re not only trying to protect our company, but our psychological well being, too.
But if you truly assume scarcity, why start a company? Why step into a difficult market with a scarcity of resources? Why invest your time, money, and energy into a difficult situation?
I suppose there are some for whom this is just their outlook on life. But I would venture to say that most business leaders don’t start their businesses assuming scarcity. They started with hope — seeing opportunity and excitement — but they eventually found themselves overwhelmed by anxiety and moved to this more protective stance.
Fear breeds fear. Assuming scarcity becomes a cultural decision for a company. And those who expect a battle at every turn will probably find one.
“Assume abundance” was an early maxim when we started Lullabot. It was a reminder that while we don’t really know what the future holds, we should not succumb to fear. By assuming abundance, we can remain hopeful and seek out these abundant resources. When we step into a new room full of people, we can delight in the opportunities to connect and see how we can benefit one another. We can assume that there will be enough potential customers and that these customers will have enough time and money to create successful projects.
So let’s assume abundance. Let’s assume that there are enough resources to go around. There are enough clients, time, money, people, etc. It’s all out there if we want it. Is this a solid foundation for our company? Or will we find ourselves unprepared for the inevitable difficulties of running a business?
Assuming abundance is a more hopeful approach. Occasionally we may end up feeling foolish for having hope and not fully acknowledging danger and competition in the market. But the focus on danger can quickly become an unproductive obsession that makes feeling foolish a minor discomfort.
Assuming abundance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, allowing us to gravitate toward the abundant resources while leaving underfunded, undernourished opportunities by the wayside. If we take the bad projects, we won’t be available when the good ones come along.
By assuming abundance, we also become more generous with our own resources. We’re more willing to share our knowledge and even give our time with the assumption that this may lead to opportunities for everyone involved.
Scarcity will overwhelm you. Abundance will not. Hope breeds hope. Confidence breeds confidence. Success breeds success. And assuming abundance quickly becomes a practice of gratitude — one of the foundations of every major faith.
Let’s be honest. We’re going to get burned every now and then. We may assume abundance and find that we’ve been wrong. Our hope and confidence may come and go. Markets and competitive landscapes change.
In reality, most leaders tend to oscillate between scarcity and abundance mindsets; and, on any given day, we usually sit somewhere in the middle. But “assume abundance” is a philosophy and an ideal. It’s a reminder — a mantra. We’re talking about assuming abundance. The maxim is not “demand abundance” or “ignore scarcities.” In the absence of data, we are left to assume. So let’s assume abundance. We’re much more likely to find abundance if we assume it’s out there.
Jeff Robbins is a business coach, mentor, and virtual business partner who works one-on-one with company owners and leaders to help them build vision and direction for their companies while building productivity, stability, and happiness for their employees and themselves. You can work with him too. Reach out to set up a free consultation session.